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Defibrillators Malfunctioning?

Photo by: Stevenfruitsmaak

In almost every single public place you visit, you are bound to see an “AED found here” sign. An AED is an Automatic External Defibrillator. Not many people notice the defibrillators until they are needed in an emergency.

However, in a recent article, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a statement saying that they will “toughen regulation of the industry that produces heart defibrillators.” Defibrillators are used to “jolt a failing heart back into its regular rhythm.” The FDA mentioned that there have been tens of thousands of malfunctions and hundreds of deaths over the past few years.

The article mentions that a nurse wanted to use an AED on a patient but failed to do so when the screen of the AED read “memory full.” Another case involved a software malfunction on the AED. When the AED was trying to be used, the screen read “equipment disabled.”

Since 2005, there have been 45,000 reports of the devices failing. Cardiac arrests, on the other hand kill as many as 400,000 people per year in the United States, we need the AEDs to work!

The FDA will now monitor the production of the devices. This is a pretty big job considering that there are about 2.4 million devices in public places around the United States.




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1 Comment

  1. biolabski

    I think that this is a very important article because the failure of defibrillators can result in death. One of the easiest ways to avoid unnecessary deaths is to make sure that they are manufactured properly. Not only that, but people/places that own them should check them periodically to make sure they are ready for action, so that the stories mentioned in the post won’t repeat themselves. Here is a link to a 2011 article about how the reliability of AED’s has increased: Do you think that AED’s are making progress since this article was published two years before the article mentioned in the post?

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